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Space satellite with its solar panels extended

The XtratuM digital twin

SKE emulates on Linux host machines a proper HW/SW environment for partitioned systems based on the time and space partitioning concept.

SKE (“Separation Kernel Emulator”) aims to deliver the same features and functionalities of the XtratuM hypervisor in a Linux host platform. It provides an emulation environment of the XtratuM architecture to allow the execution of real-time, partitioned systems that aim to be deployed in native hardware.

Applications of SKE

Tool for testing and debugging

SKE offers a natural test-bench for preliminary testing, and integration of partitioned systems before the full integration of software applications in the target hardware platform. The development in a general-purpose computer removes the complexities of working with a native HW environment and helps the development and debugging of applications by non-HW-specialized developers.

Tool for scenario simulation

SKE allows executing at a faster speed than in the target hadware by using the powerful cores of the host machine, with processing frequencies typically 10,000x faster than those of a native HW. This allows developers to run long test scenarios reducing timescales, and delivering good trade-off between simulation accuracy and simulation performance. In fact, users looking for computational power and high simulation performances in host servers, SKE allows the execution of many instances of itself to run several XtratuM-like systems.

SKE in action!

In a scenario of an embedded platform of a real satellite, it is composed of:

  • a Zynq7000 board
  • the XtratuM Next Generation (XNG) hypervisor
  • the on-board software (OBSW) running on top of the hypervisor.

As this emulator enables to simulate the operations of a single satellite’s on-board computer, SKE enters to replace that HW/SW architecture, providing the partitioned environments and simulating the operations of the hypervisor layer. For this latter, there is no needed anymore to provide any HW emulation as SKE would be hiding its interactions. Only the access request from partition’s applications to low level drivers/peripherals present in the satellite would be of consideration. For such purpose, SKE can be coupled with external models that recreate the inner environment of the satellite, and provide emulation of input/output (I/O) from devices (e.g. an antenna) external to the HW processor.

Space satellite with its solar panels extended